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Ela Carte’s Tasmanian Food Wrap

Launceston and surrounds

Hallams Waterfront – Great seafood specialists. Feels very nautical inside. Great value lunch deals – two course lunch for $39 with options like fish & potato pie for starters, and tempura fish with green salad and chips for main.

I ordered a lovely light (but LARGE) meal of grilled harissa southern calamari and banana prawns with rustic guacamole, grilled summer vegetables, coriander and paprika oil. It was absolutely brilliant and great value at under $30

Stillwater – A Launceston stayer, it’s had a refresh this year, but retains the charm of that stunning 1830s flour mill right on the edge of the Tamar River. 

Definitely pricier than Hallams, but the food is pretty special.

From the entrees ($16-$24) Tasmania scallops with Jerusalem artichoke, smoked ham hock and dill were as pretty as they were tasty. Mains are priced in the mid-$30s and include things like a fabulously rich Mt Gnomon pork belly with granny smith sauce, pickled celery and crisp parsnip. 

Stillwater: the charm of the 1830s flour mill.

Stillwater: the charm of the 1830s flour mill.

Sails by the River ? Great low-key pub style eating in the historic Tamar Yacht Club. Excellent views from the deck out the back.

Josef Chromy – A gorgeous winery just 20 minutes from Launceston with sprawling grounds, plenty of grass. The restaurant gives you option for small and share plates, or you can do a traditional two or three course lunch. I was lucky enough to be there for the Effervescence Tasmania sparkling wine festival, and if you like your sparkling but don’t love overcrowded food and wine festivals, you will adore that – put it in the calendar for November next year. 

East Coast 

The Blue Shed, St Helens – boasting a fish and chip takeaway, and a nice spacious restaurant with enviable views, these guys know their seafood, and they know it has to be fresh. I recommend saving your oyster order for the drive down the coast (plenty of places to stop and pick up half a dozen on the roadside); but the cured ocean trout was terrific, as was the roasted version with crispy leeks, asparagus and giant cous cous. 

Blue Shed: these guys know their seafood.

Blue Shed: these guys know their seafood.

The Edge Restaurant at Edge of the Bay Resort, Coles Bay – if you can’t afford a room at the $1700-plus a night Saffire Freycinet Resort, then you won’t get a table at their restaurant, but right next door at the Edge of the Bay Resort, The Edge has almost the same views, with no strings attached. Entrees include a rustic seafood chowder and range from $15-$17; mains include a Cape Grim eye fillet with cafe de Paris butter, roasted corn slaw, beer battered fat chips and roasted red pepper ketchup at $8. 

Freycinet Marine Farm – A little more laid back, before you get to Coles Bay you’ll pass this oyster farm and it’s well worth popping in for a visit and a feed. Bright blue wooden tables set the scene for plenty of oyster action (you’ll get a dozen natural oysters ready to go for just $18), plus you’ll get options like mussels with tomato and chilli sauce or an abalone roll. 

Other options around include decent pub meals at the Iluka Tavern in Coles Bay, and great takeaway from a hole-in-the-wall fish and chip shop called Tasmanian Coastal Seafoods in Bicheno (watch out for the seagulls). 

Bruny Island 

Bruny Island Smokehouse – Now recognised as the House of Whisky, the smokehouse is still there in amongst the spirit bottles and it’s a pearler. Plenty of produce to buy and take away, but it’s well worth starting your progressive meal from the ferry to Adventure Bay right here with a ‘Pates and Pastes Platter’ – goodies like salmon pate with lime and chilli, teriyaki trout, and wallaby with pomegranate served with warm bread. Great share start to the trip at $38.

Get Shucked Oysters – Another rustic roadside offering in our progressive lunch from the ferry, and I must say I FAR preferred the Bruny oysters to those at Freycinet, plus here the meat has been detached from the shells for you. Plenty of options, fresh and cooked, and a good local drinks list. A dozen naked oysters will set you back just $16 and they went great with a Pagan Cider. 

Get Shucked: A rustic roadside offering.

Get Shucked: A rustic roadside offering.

Bruny Island Cheese ? Founder Nick Haddow has worked in some of Australia’s best dairies and throughout Europe, and now he is making first class cheese in this charming farmhouse on the island. Housed in a fabulous bush setting, you can do tastings, take cheese and other produce home, or sit at a picnic table and enjoy a cheese platter with local wine, beer or cider.

Bruny Island Cheese: first class cheese in a charming farmhouse.

Bruny Island Cheese: first class cheese in a charming farmhouse.

Hotel Bruny ? I love this pub. I just love it. Relaxed, local, stunning location and views, laid back staff, and bloody good food. Go there ? but it is absolutely worth booking.

Hobart

The Glass House ? feeling somewhat like a stylish Bond villain’s lair, this bar/restaurant within the Brooke St pier complex is new on the Hobart scene and boasts killer water views and Japanese inspired share plates. Great cocktail menu too.

Franklin ? Don’t be deceived by the stark appearance from the outside, despite its industrial fa?ade, Franklin boasts warmth in the form of its friendly, knowledgable staff and passion for Tasmanian produce. If you can, get a seat at the smooth concrete bar, and watch the kitchen team at work ? it’s quite a performance in itself. Top points for the stunning lamb with bread sauce, unbelievably tender.

Franklin: watch the kitchen team at work.

Franklin: watch the kitchen team at work.

Templo ? What a lovely surprise this was. A tip led us to book a last minute table at this small, new neighbourhood eatery enroute to the airport. I’m so glad we did. Templo boasts a small team of accommodating staff, and a blackboard menu that changes daily. This meal was a delight ? gnochetti and stracci pasta are made daily, again we ate lamb that was almost unbearably good, and they even convinced me to enjoy polenta!

Templo: the lamb was almost unbearably good.

Templo: the lamb was almost unbearably good.

Otherwise ? if you’re after breakfast, Daci & Daci bakers have a great selection, and Pilgrim Coffee have a pretty unconventional menu. At night, Tasman Quartermasters is a great relaxed bar, with terrific light food options ? try the pink ling fishcakes!

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